Confused about basket size for "standard" espresso

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
Gargamel40

#1: Post by Gargamel40 »

As much as I read a standard espresso should come from around 7g of coffee. That is supposed to be a single dose. Why is there no one that is actually brewing espresso with 7g of coffee? All videos show baskets with 15 to 20g of coffee and they pull out 30 to 50g of liquid. Sometimes they fill two cups at the same time so that would be actually correct, but more times they fill one cup.

Why is that or is there something i don't understand?

baldheadracing
Team HB

#2: Post by baldheadracing »

Pulling a well-extracted 7g single is beyond the skill level of many. Doubles or more can be just easier to pull well, especially on machines that take 58mm baskets.

In addition, many folks just want more than 7g of coffee in a serving.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

Gargamel40 (original poster)

#3: Post by Gargamel40 (original poster) »

So basically 15 to 18g coffee in a suitable VST basket pulled between 20s to 30s and getting 30 to 50g of liquid is easily a single shot?

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Jeff
Team HB

#4: Post by Jeff »

I would drop "VST" and then your statement is reasonably close to current practice with premium beans and roasts on most machines of the last 20 years or so.

Light-roast espresso is a bit different, but with classic roasts and blends a bit more than a "double" by classic, Italian definitions of the 60s or 70s has become a normal shot for the home enthusiast. With classic roasts and blends, I think the ratios are closer to being in the 1:1 to 1:2.5 range (18-45 g out).

JohanR

#5: Post by JohanR »

Maybe also have a look at the recent thread
7 gram single shot?? Mission impossible!
for some tips and tricks on how to pull 7g shots.
Johan

Nate42

#6: Post by Nate42 »

Even the Italians don't really pull single shots. They typically use a double basket and double spouted filter to split into 2 cups.

Only time I have bothered with a single basket is when I am trying to use up the last bit of a particular coffee. And I've never once got particularly good results. I'm sure I could do better if I worked on it but I just don't care enough.

Gargamel40 (original poster)

#7: Post by Gargamel40 (original poster) »

So what would be the difference in brewing between:

1. Bottomless portafilter (VST basket), 18g of coffee, pulled between 25 and 30s and 40g of liquid. One cup.

2. Double spouted portafilter (VST basket), 18g of coffee, pulled between 25 and 30s and 40g of liquid. Two cups.

Number 1 looks to me like a standard espresso for one. But number two makes the espresso for two people under the same conditions with less coffee.

Nate42

#8: Post by Nate42 »

Well the bottomless filter would have a little more crema and slightly different texture just due to the lack of spouts. But other than that ideally there would be no difference at all.

My point was just that what an Italian barista typically actually does is dial in a double shot which is then split between two cups. As opposed to pulling a true single shot which would require dialing in a different grind for a different basket. And is generally a pain in the butt.

baldheadracing
Team HB

#9: Post by baldheadracing »

Gargamel40 wrote:So basically 15 to 18g coffee in a suitable VST basket pulled between 20s to 30s and getting 30 to 50g of liquid is easily a single shot?
No.

The size of a single serving is whatever you want :D. You can use 7g of coffee or 20g or whatever.

However, a single uses between 6g-10g of coffee. In Italy, a single espresso uses 7g, almost by law.

ETA WBC def'n: "Espresso is a one (1) fl. oz. beverage (3OmL +/- 5mL) made from ground coffee, poured from one (1) side of a double portafilter in one (1) continuous extraction." Note that the basket used at the WBC has been a VST-20 for maybe a decade.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

henri

#10: Post by henri »

Both cultural and economic factors play a role here. In a busy café, it makes sense if one extraction can be used to produce the coffee of two customers at once, hence the traditional use of split doubles. Traditionally, a commercial portafilter basket comfortably holds something like 14-16g of coffee. So each of the "singles" resulting from that split double, in a sense, had 7-8g of "input", hence the notion that a single is about 7 grams.

As others have pointed out, a shot that's been spouted from a double dose is not the same as a shot prepared using a single basket and a 7g dose. The latter normally require a finer grind. Consequently, and also because of the smaller dose, the window of opportunity for a good shot is much smaller, and the window of opportunity for an excellent shot is probably an order of magnitude smaller yet. This, combined with the fact that an increasing number of people like the size of a double shot, means that few people these days are pulling singles at home. It's not "no-one", however, as discussion in the "Mission Impossible" thread attests.

Another cultural factor at play is that all the social media influencers have themselves been influenced by the third wave, where the double is the new single. Hence, these are the only kinds of shots you tend to see in videos on the internet. But go to a more traditional café, and they'll still be doing the split double thing. Some lower-volume cafés even use the single basket, with varying results.